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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  February 8, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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on the broadcast here tonight, strength in numbers. massive crowds return to cairo's main square. they're staying until mubarak goes, they say. and tonight, a new voice inspires them. news about breast cancer tonight. will it mean fewer patients will undergo a painful part of the procedure? sudden speed. remember the big toyota scare over sudden acceleration? tonight you may not believe the official government explanation of what went wrong. and taking flight. a remarkable woman who's overcome tremendous hurdles. and now for her, the sky's the limit. also tonight, his wife says president obama has quit, though not his day job. "nightly news" begins now.
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captions paid for by nbc-universal television we're following a high stakes stand-off thousands of miles from where we are. here's what's going on. the crowds in the main square in cairo just got bigger again today. they say they will leave when president hosni mubarak leaves. the problem is, mubarak's new number two says the regime isn't going to end. mubarak isn't going anywhere for a while. and he said tonight egypt can't put up with these protests for a long time. at stake, control of egypt. the future of that country and both sides are well aware of that. again tonight we go first to our chief foreign correspondent richard engel in cairo. richard, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. this stand-off could be heading back to a confrontation. tonight the government put down a marker, it said it can't tolerate indefinite
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demonstration, but the protests are getting bigger. crowds in tahrir square swelled to hundreds of thousands again, the biggest in days. their demand remains unchanged. the crowds were also energized by an emerging leader, a young blogger and google executive, named wael ghonim, was released from detention yesterday. today in tahrir square he said, as long as you are standing here, you are all heroes. they're also inspired to keep going by images like this. an apparently unarmed protester shot in the street by police, when the unrest began. the government seems to be accepting this movement is not going away, and publicly embracing it up to a point. the new vice president, omar suleiman, said today on television, that egypt is proud of its young people. but later warned that egypt
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"can't put up with continued protests for long. and there would be no ending of the regime, and no immediate departure for president mubarak." state television is also reinforcing a message of stability, with nonstop patriotic programming showing a harmonious, clean, high-tech egypt. but not far from the state tv building where those idealized images are broadcast, cairo looks starkly different. narrow alleys, high unemployment, cairo's chronic poor. this uprising is about democracy and political reform, but also economics. there are huge discrepancies between the rich and poor here with entire neighborhoods of millions living in poverty. but just a few miles away are gated communities with multimillion dollar villas, luxury getaways on cairo's outskirts. the luxury communities were the first to be attacked and looted when violence broke out last week, when a political and economic timebomb long simmering
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exploded. in a poor area today i visited abu abraham. his family lives on handouts from neighbors and a local charity. they told me they want change too, but the revolt scares them. chaos could mean starvation. we need to give the government a chance, he said. down the street at the ahmed family, the only woman who works sells soft drinks for $3 a day. when i arrived, they started chanting mubarak's praises. they said, the people in the square are foreigners and this is a plot to destroy egypt. the young men at a nearby barber shop took part in the revolt at first, but then had to go back to work. we've achieved what we've been asking for, now it's enough, he said. the root of this uprising runs deep, poverty, government mismanagement, political repression. but many in cairo are so poor, they can't afford a drawnout
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stalemate over president mubarak's last few months in office. as we've seen all along in this crisis, brian, friday, the day of prayer, could be a decisive one. big demonstrations are scheduled. >> and richard, in this country last night, former house speaker newt gingrich, during an interview was talking about the muslim brotherhood. you've been talking about them for days. it's believed any coalition government will have to contain a percentage of them. the speaker said they were enemies of civilization, it's in their own creed. i know for years you've lived and worked alongside members of the muslim brotherhood there in cairo. tell us your knowledge of this group. >> reporter: the group has about 20% to 40% support in the country. it's not al qaeda, it's not the taliban. they do support islamic law, but the people who are members of the muslim brotherhood wear business suits. it's much more akin to hamas in
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the gaza strip. it's anti-american, it's anti-israel. but it wouldn't kick all the christians out of the country, but it would definitely take a more anti-american line. >> richard engel, our veteran in that region starting us off again tonight. richard, thanks. there's a story about breast cancer just coming out this evening, if you're any part of the huge breast cancer community, you've heard phrases like, the doctor says they got it all and they took out all the lymph nodes as well. tonight's development has to do with just that, the removal of lymph nodes, a major postoperative source of pain and suffering. our chief medical editor, dr. nancy snyderman is here to walk us through this story tonight. nancy? >> brian, it really has to do with women in an early stage of breast cancer, women who would get a lumpectomy, radiation and then some sort of systemic chemotherapy. what this has to do with is how
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we treat breast cancer and take out those lymph nodes in the armpit. now, in the last 100 years, doctors have believed the more you take out the better. but if you take a look at this diagram of what the lymph nodes look like, doctors now know that if they take out one or two or three of the lymph nodes closest so the tumor, that's all they need. then they can look for microscopic cells. and if they find them they can determine the treatment. why is that important? taking out all of those lymph nodes is not so inocuous. there are real complications, including swelling of the arm. this is one of those cases where doing less, according to all the breast cancer experts we talked to, can actually mean better quality of life and, really, no change in survival for women. again, that's 30% of women with early stage breast cancer. >> you and i were talking earlier about this. sadly most of us have been around way too much of this in life. >> right. >> the question i asked you was, does this change the patient meeting with the doctor, in terms of patient education going
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in? >> here's the cool thing about how we can stage breast cancer right now. for so many women out there, the ability to know what your breast cancer staging is going in with imaging really helps set that first conversation. so if you're one of those women and your doctor says, look, it looks like you have early stage breast cancer, the question to ask is, then can we be not so aggressive with the lymph node dissection? but i want to caution people, there is a time in the operating room, when a doctor has to make a decision based on what he or she says. when a patient tries to dictate what an operation is, that's not necessarily good medicine. but at least this is an advance and a part of the conversation. >> this is going to be on a lot of front pages tomorrow. >> it is. >> we wanted to get ahead of it tonight. dr. nancy snyderman, as always, thanks. one more item on health and diet tonight, eggs are suddenly looking better. new data from agriculture
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officials shows that eggs are actually getting better in terms of nutrition. a random sampling of eggs from around the nation found 14% less cholesterol in eggs, and 65% more vitamin d in eggs than the last time they were tested like this a decade ago. the egg industry says it may be because of better, more high-quality feed. we have an update tonight being billed as the final word from the government on the investigation into problems with toyotas speeding out of control. almost a year after an eight million vehicle recall and $50 million in fines against the company, government investigators said they found no sign that electronic defects played a role in the problem. would you believe it was the floor mats the whole time? well, not everybody does. and our own tom costello with us tonight with more on this from washington. tom, good evening. >> reporter: hi, brian. the government says it put its top scientists on that and, in
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fact, it says at least some of those unattended accelerations were caused by people hitting the gas instead of the brake. for ten months, investigators from nasa and the transportation department have been in the lab and on the track looking into whether toyota's stuck accelerators might involve an elusive electronic problem. a sort of ghost in the machine. today the government said there is no such evidence. >> our conclusion is this, toyota's problems were mechanical, not electrical. >> reporter: that confirms toyota's own findings. it's already recalled eight million toyota and lexus cars and fixed sticking gas pedals or improperly fitting floor mats that it blames for unintended accelerati acceleration. toyota's problems became front page news in 2009. after the fiery crash in san diego killed a california
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patrol officer and three family members. soon there were 3,000 complaints from drivers claiming their gas pedals also had gotten stuck. >> all of a sudden my car took off out from under me and slammed into the building. >> on behalf of all -- >> reporter: rhonda smith told congress her lexus had accelerated to 100 miles per hour. terrified, with both feet on the brake, she called her husband. >> i knew he could not help me, but i wanted to hear his voice one more time. >> reporter: finally, she was able to stop. but annie zoll died after her 2005 camry flew off a california cliff. her family's attorney, a former nasa engineer, today was skeptical. >> i do believe the root cause is electromagnetic interference. >> reporter: because investigators examined fewer than 75 cars, some consumers are also skeptical. >> you're looking for a needle in a haystack, and we don't have the time, we don't have the money to find that needle. >> reporter: it's a sigh of relief for many automakers. this is not the final word. the national academy of sciences is also investigating. its report due out in the fall. brian, of the 93 alleged cases
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of people dying because of unintended acceleration, the government says it's only been able to verify five of those. back to you. >> tom costello in washington tonight. thanks. we have a weather update tonight. here we go again, another major winter snowstorm on the march. this time, oklahoma, northern texas to start, arkansas as well. in the path of about six inches or more of new snow. ten inches to a foot in some places. now it moves east, and we're talking at least some snow in parts of mississippi, alabama, georgia, tennessee, the carolinas. behind all the snow, wicked cold again, with temperatures averaging 20 to 25 degrees below normal. this has been a terrible time for the folks down under, who live in the great nation of australia. they have suffered through months of seemingly nonstop natural disasters. 35 killed in massive flooding in queensland, australia. dozens of homes near perth destroyed by wildfires.
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and a category 5 cyclone, a hurricane as big as katrina, battered coastal communities last week. it was the source of a rare display of emotion this week from australia's prime minister, as she addressed parliament, presenting them with an australian flag given to her by rescue workers who found it in the floodwaters. >> it was recovered from the area of murphy's creek by the crew of a distinct force helicopter. the helicopters continued with their search and rescue in the days to come, and they found this flag, mr. speaker. i was honored when they gave it to me, it was muddy and soaking wet. and they did so because it was a powerful symbol for them. of what it means to face the elements, of what it means to be heard, of what it means to endure, of what it means to be australian. i spoke to them of courage, it spoke to them of courage.
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the courage it takes to keep filling sandbags even when your back is breaking. the courage it takes to hold your nerve in the dark as a cyclone races around you. the courage it takes to tell your children to run across the railway line, knowing it's dangerous, knowing they could fall, but knowing it's their only hope of getting to safety. the courage it takes for a young boy, 13-year-old jordan rice, to say to his rescuers, take my brother first. and before that brave rescuer could return, jordan and mom donna were taken by the flood. but the legend of jordan's amazing courage will go on. >> the prime minister of australia with the emotion of the moment these days in australia. we'll take a break. when we come back, first lady michelle obama's news today about her husband. specifically, something she says he no longer does.
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and later, a woman to really look up to, blazing a trail in the sky and doing good works at home.
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first lady michelle obama is marking the first anniversary of her drive to get america's kids to eat healthy and exercise. she'll appear exclusively with matt lauer tomorrow morning on "today." and on this day there was a surprise revelation about one of the president's health habits. our chief white house correspondent chuck todd with us tonight with more on this. >> reporter: the topic of the president's smoking has always made the white house uncomfortable, and the president himself squirm a bit uncomfortably. it's been a nagging question since his election. >> have you stopped smoking? >> how many cigarettes a day do you smoke alone or in the presence of other people? >> and i know some people think it's a trivial issue, but it really isn't at all. >> reporter: and neither the president nor his staff have
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enjoyed answering the question. >> i don't honestly see the need to get a whole lot more specific than to say it's a continuing struggle. >> i think it's fair, margaret to say, you just think it's neat to ask me about my smoking. >> reporter: the standard answer has been, he's almost an ex-smoker, but not yet. >> i don't do it in front of my family, and -- i would say that i am 95% cured. >> reporter: it's a washington parlor game, where does he do it? on the white house grounds? the truman balcony, perhaps? or more likely, the golf course? the president's most frequent golfing companion is aide marvin nicholson, who also has struggled with smoking. after the president's last physical, february 28, 2010, his doctor recommended that he continue smoking cessation efforts. his preferred method? >> the president continues to chew nicotine gum. >> reporter: and apparently it's worked. first lady michelle obama, who has made healthy living one of
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her top agenda items, told reporters the president hasn't smoked in a year. but it hasn't been easy. nobody has been more critical than mrs. obama. here she is on "60 minutes" way back in 2007. >> please, america, watch. keep an eye on him and call me if you see him smoking. >> reporter: the president who first started smoking as a teenager, brian, clearly has been embarrassed by this habit. he hated to even talk about it in off the record settings. but what helped this time according to robert gibbs is that close aides, marvin nicholson, and a couple others have also quit with him. they've all been smoke free for a year. >> power in numbers. i guess the last dedicated smoker in the white house was fdr. it's been a long time. chuck todd, thanks. up next, after a break, the latest on the newest broadway sensation, love it or hate it.
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we saw him during the super bowl, this nation's most recent recipient of the medal of honor. army staff sergeant salvatore giunta says he will not reenlist. he will get his college degree on the g.i. bill. the young man from iowa is already a two-tour combat veteran with multiple decorations. it's also true the pentagon traditionally frowns on medal of honor recipients returning to combat, though it has been done. the quotes i'm about to read
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come from "the l.a. times," "the washington post" and "the new york times." they all have to do with the new broadway musical "spider-man." an artistic form of megalomania. a shrill insipid mess. incoherent. and finally, "spider-man" is so grievously broken in every respect it's beyond repair. after a while you get the feeling the critics don't like "spider-man." the most expensive and elaborate musical ever made. well, here's the rub, it hasn't opened yet officially, it's still in previews, and the people keep coming. despite the mishaps, four injuries to actors. over 130,000 tickets have been sold. when we come back here tonight a young woman who has really earned her wings and is making history in mid flight.
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finally tonight, along with our fellow nbc news website, we're marking black history month by following people who are making history every day. tonight, an inspirational story about a young woman who overcame tremendous hurdles to accomplish something extraordinary.
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our own ron mott has the report tonight from los angeles. >> reporter: early morning in l.a., time to get a move on. the chopper's ready to go, and so is lashanda holmes. a 26-year-old junior grade lieutenant in the coast guard. she's not just a pilot, she's the first black female helicopter pilot to ever wear the orange jumpsuit. >> i'm proud of it, it's a blessing, and i hope i can continue to inspire everyone else. but i don't really -- i don't think about it a whole lot. >> reporter: what she does think about is becoming a more proficient aviator, flying by the book, constantly studying -- >> you'll pick up some railroad tracks. >> reporter: -- impressing her colleagues. >> she's another great asset in the coast guard to have, a good pilot. that's ultimately what the coast guard needs, great pilots. >> reporter: her career to flight by happenstance. >> i never imagined it, i never grew up thinking i would fly. >> reporter: while a student at spellman college, she had a
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chance meeting with the coast guard recruiter while working a job fair. >> i had a bunch of people come to my table all day, no one came to his table. by the end of the day i felt bad. >> reporter: she walked over to say hello. turning hi into higher heights. earning her wings last year. like any pilot, her path to the cockpit was structured right down to the slightest detail. but the route her life took to get her up here, required a far different set of skills to master. her mother's suicide when she was 2 was followed by a period of abuse, then foster care. and yet she's excelled. success that's a huge source of inspiration back home in north carolina, especially for her young sisters. >> i'm just very proud, it makes me smile. >> that's what's so amazing, they don't have to go outside of their door to look for anyone else to look up to, because they have it right here. >> reporter: despite her place in history, lieutenant holmes says there's no secret to her achievements. >> it gets better. you overcome these little things and you build more character and build more character, and you can be trusted with a bigger
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blessing. >> reporter: for her, a future that's literally up and away. ron mott, nbc news, los angeles. >> watch more on our website that's it for us this tuesday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. and as always, we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac -- right now at 6:00, one major status update. facebook has a new friend, and it's a bay area town. we've got to look at what their big move means for the local economy. >> thanks for joining us on this tuesday evening. >> one of the biggest companies on earth is moving from a small bay area city to a small bay area town. facebook moving out of palo alto d


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